Jackson beats BMWs to take reverse grid win at Croft

Mat Jackson continued his habit in 2011 of winning the third and final race of a BTCC weekend by taking his third win of the season in the reverse grid race at Croft this afternoon.

It is also the Motorbase Ford driver’s third reverse grid success of the season as he started from third on the grid after the number seven was drawn out to put WSR’s Nick Foster on pole position for the race alongside Tom Chilton’s Ford.

But as the BMW driver made the perfect start to hang onto the lead into Clervaux for the first time, Jackson was right on his tail from third up to second place as he took advantage of a poor start from Chilton that dropped him behind Foster’s team-mate Rob Collard, who had made another blistering start to move from sixth up to third place early on.

Foster’s lead didn’t last long however as by the time the cars headed in Tower corner Jackson powered past the BMW driver and into the lead of the race still on lap one, completing the lap with the two BMW’s still in touch.

The race was from then on a real pressure cooker as Jackson could never shake off the the WSR BMW pairing of Foster and Collard despite his best effrots, but the power of the Ford was just enough in the middle sector of the lap to prevent Foster from making an overtaking move on the leader.

Collard was always latched onto the back of the two cars and began to attack his impressive team-mate Foster for second place, Foster initially hanging on after an attempt from Collard into Tower to overtake him, before allowing his faster team-mate through into second place to attack the leader Jackson with five laps to go.

Collard immediately looked much quicker than Jackson, particularly through the tight and twisty final section of the circuit where the BMW seemed to have much better grip, but Jackson defended well and Collard simply could not find a way past the Focus despite his best efforts.

Jackson took the victory, while Collard then allowed Foster to pass him on thr run up to the line for the final time to give his rookie team-mate his best result of the season so far with a second place finish.

Gordon Shedden again ran into tyre problems as the race went on, which allowed Andrew Jordan to once again snatch what would be fourth place from the Scot on this occassion, before James Nash in his Vauxhall Vectra – who started from row six – also made his way past the Honda of Shedden for fifth.

The race was a damage limitation for the Honda boys as Shedden slipped to sixth, while his team-mate Matt Neal could only manage a seventh place finish after also struggling for grip in the closing stages after his double win in the first two races of the day, which topped off a very good day for the championship leader.

Silverline Chevrolet’s Alex MacDowall had a fine drive which he worked his way through the field from 16th place on the grid to finish in eighth place at the flag just behind Neal after attacking the Honda in the final lap at Clervaux before Neal took the advantage.

His team-mate Jason Plato had another eventful race to cap off a disappointing day after securing pole position on Saturday. Having started towards the back of the field after his race two failure, he spent the majority of the final race battling with Tony Gilham’s Vauxhall Vectra, eventually winning the battle for 11th place, outside the points.

Leaving Croft and heading into the seven-week summer break in the calendar, Neal leads the championship (140) by nine points from Jackson (131). Shedden (120) is third ahead of Jordan (111) in fourth, Nash (104) fifth and Plato (100) sixth while Collard’s three podium finishes today (finishing third, second and third again) catapult him up to seventh in the standings on 66 points.

Race three results:

 1.  Mat Jackson      Motorbase Ford         22m10.663s
2.  Nick Foster      WSR BMW                  + 0.638s
3.  Rob Collard      WSR BMW                  + 0.922s
4.  Andrew Jordan    Eurotech Vauxhall       + 10.909s
5.  James Nash       Triple 8 Vauxhall       + 12.269s
6.  Gordon Shedden   Honda                   + 14.866s
7.  Matt Neal        Honda                   + 15.915s
8.  Alex MacDowall   Chevrolet               + 16.512s
9.  Tom Chilton      Arena Ford              + 21.112s
10.  Dave Newsham     Special Tuning SEAT     + 21.855s
11.  Jason Plato      Chevrolet               + 31.066s
12.  Tony Gilham      Triple 8 Vauxhall       + 34.691s
13.  Tom Onslow-Cole  Arena Ford              + 38.211s
14.  Jeff Smith       Eurotech Vauxhall       + 38.359s
15.  Shaun Hollamby   AmD Volkswagen          + 45.095s
16.  Liam Griffin     Motorbase Ford          + 54.858s
17.  John George      Tech-Speed Chevrolet  + 1m01.548s
18.  Chris James      ES Chevrolet          + 1m02.209s
19.  Lea Wood         Central Honda         + 1m19.308s
DNF     Paul O’Neill     Tech-Speed Chevrolet      13 laps
DNF     Tom Boardman     Special Tuning SEAT       10 laps
DNF     Rob Austin       Austin Audi                5 laps
DNF     Andy Neate       Arena Ford                 5 laps
DNF     Frank Wrathall   Dynojet Toyota             1 laps



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